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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 8/10/2015

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium on Monday, August 10, 2015.

BB: Heading into another week here, this is a good opportunity for us to kind of clean up some training camp things, just some things that we need to do, maybe things that we haven't got to or things we need to go back and kind of brush up on, start to transition into getting ready for a game and getting ready for Green Bay. Next week, obviously with New Orleans, practicing against them and playing them will be much more of a full week of preparation for that game. This week is kind of a combination of training camp and preparation, so we'll try to balance those things and get ready to go. So, that's where we're at. 

Q: You guys announced a roster transaction, releasing Matt Flynn and signing Ryan Lindley. What led to that decision?

BB: Alright, well, Matt never passed physical. 

Q: What traits did you see in Ryan Lindley that made you want to work with him?

BB: He's got some experience. He's been with a couple different organizations, played some. And he's healthy, that's the most important trait.

Q: How much does the fact that you have preseason games coming up kind of force your hand because you can't wait any longer?

BB: There is definitely something to that. We don't have forever here. The train is moving. 

Q: Once Matt Flynn is healthy, would you be open to resigning him?

BB: We'll see how it goes. I wouldn't rule it out. We've brought back plenty of players who were here, then weren't here, then came back here. I know he worked hard. It was frustrating he couldn't get out there, we couldn't see him out there, so it's the way it was.

Q: Does having so many injuries impact what you've been able to do out there?

BB: Each day we take what we have and go through the practice schedule. Sometimes we have to modify the schedule. Usually it's just more managing the reps and figuring out how to get done what we need to get done. It's pretty common on our team and every team to deal with that to some degree. 

Q: What have you seen from David Andrews so far?

BB: He's been out there every day working hard, getting better. He's a smart kid, played a lot of football – four-year starter in the SEC. He's picked things up well. We worked him at center and guard. He's improving. As long as we keep making progress, we'll get a chance to watch him play here hopefully coming up. We'll see how it goes.

Q: For running backs and wide receivers and other players who are usually not asked to tackle, what traits are you looking for as it relates to special teams?

BB: I'm not sure I follow you.

Q: On kick coverage teams, running backs and wide receivers are asked to make tackles. How do you determine which backs can do that and which backs can't?

BB: We coach them and we evaluate them. Your special teams, that's what it's made up of. You've got defensive players blocking on kickoff return, blocking on punt protection. You have offensive players covering kicks. On punt team, one part of the play is blocking and one part of the play is covering and tackling. Somebody is picking up a skill that's not I'd say their primary one, so you take the players that have the attributes, coach them, evaluate them [and] let them play.

Q: Would you say there is a certain mentality for those guys who don't have that as a primary skill to be able to do that and be versatile in that way?

BB: It's like any other position in football – there's a skill to it, so some guys are better at it than others. Some guys haven't done much of it, which is not uncommon for us to get a star player in college who didn't spend a lot of time on the special teams unit now spending more time on those units, so there is a transition there. But yeah, I'd say most players – and the game is different here than it is in college – most players once they understand what they need to do, they practice the skills and try to get better at it and do the best they can. Then we just evaluate it how it goes, just like anything else. Some guys perform better than others, but that's the way it is at every position on every part of the team. 

Q: For a quarterback like Ryan Lindley, do you just throw him out on the practice field and have him take reps or do you prefer to have him watch for a bit and slowly transition him into practice?

BB: I think with any new player, regardless of what position they play, you start them off doing the things that you feel like they can do. You can't put somebody out there who doesn't know what to do or can't do what you want them to do. There are individual drills, there are group drills, [and] there are team drills. Sometimes those are done at various levels or degrees of difficulty. We do the same thing with all players. When they're ready for something, then we put them in there. If they're not ready, then we don't put them in there.

Q: How does your perception of their readiness impact your decision to sign a particular guy?

BB: It's always a little bit of guestimate until you actually get him there. Look, we're going to spend time with any player that we have and try to get him caught up as quickly as possible. Guys that are behind, we have to spend more time with them, they have to work a little bit harder. [I've] been doing that for 41 years. We're not talking about splitting the atom here. It is what it is. 

Q: Do you have younger players who may know they are on the bubble come up to you and ask you to play special teams?

BB: Around here, you earn your playing time. Nothing is really given to anybody. Players that perform well and earn time, if they do a good job, then they get an opportunity to earn more time. If they don't, and other players outperform them, then we're going to give the opportunity to the players who performed better. We're not really in the gift-giving department here. This is a competitive situation; everybody knows that. In this league, you earn what you get. 

Q: There is another move being reported, that you traded Matthew Wells to the Chicago Bears for offensive lineman Ryan Groy. What made you interested in him?

BB: Any transactions that we have – releases, signings, trades, anything – when they're completed, when they're official, then we'll announce them, and if they aren't then we won't. 

Q: What has it been like working with Ray Ventrone as a coach as opposed to as a player?

BB: Ray has been great. He came here in the spring – February, late February, March – and he's been with us all the way through. He obviously has an extensive paying background, and he's transitioning to being a coach. He's working really hard at it, got a long way to go, but he's doing a good job. I know he'll work really hard at it, and it's important to him, and he's got a lot of experience in that area. I'm sure it'll all come together eventually.

Q: He obviously has no coaching experience, and I'm sure there were a lot of applicants for that job, so what made you take the chance on him?

BB: I felt like he was the best person for our situation.

Q: How do you feel like Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson have been playing so far? I've seen them get a lot of reps on the interior offensive line.

BB: They have gotten a lot of work. They've gotten a lot of snaps. They're working hard and they're getting better. Kind of each day and each week here, the degree of difficulty gets a little bit higher. Hopefully we'll be able to keep taking those steps with all of our younger players – our defensive linemen, defensive backs, our offensive linemen, all those guys – just moving to the next level as the schemes become a little more sophisticated as we add more plays, as they add more defenses or vice versa, as we add more defenses, the offense adds more plays. Then it just starts to exponentially expand, and we'll see how it goes.

Q: How difficult is it for someone like Shaq Mason to adjust from the offense he ran at Georgia Tech to the pro offense here?

BB: It's a great question. Every situation is different. One thing you can say about Georgia Tech is they played against a lot of great competition. The players that they played against are a lot of NFL players – either they were, they are currently like him, rookies, or they're going to be in a year or two or three, whenever that is. He's played against a lot of those guys. That's different from some of the players who haven't. His scheme is different than ours, but college to pro is a big jump anyways. I think any college player, no matter where they come from, there is going to be an adjustment. Maybe one player's [adjustment] is a little bit bigger in one area, a little bit smaller in another, but until any of us go through that I don't think we really know exactly what it is we're getting into. The bottom line is he's a smart kid, he learns well, he's made great progress. We'll see where it goes, but he's certainly starting at a lot higher point than Stephen Neal, just to pick a name. So, it's all relative.

Q: Has Travaris Cadet's performance matched up with what you expected from him?

BB: He's been very competitive, on offense and in the kicking game. He's been very competitive. 

Q: Are you looking forward to seeing him on the field in a competitive environment? Is that the next step?

BB: We want to try to get every player on the field and work with him as much as we can. That's what they're here for and that's what we're here for. We take each case individually as it comes, but yeah, of course. He's worked hard. We want to work with him. Every day is an important day for every player in training camp. The more of those we can get, the better off the player will be, the team will be, cleaner the evaluation will be. 

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